Today we started out by going through the border checkpoint between Israel and Jordan. Jordan maintains a somewhat friendly position with Israel but we were still leaving one country going to another and that always is tedious and there is a level of anxiousness that goes along with it. However if we wanted to visit the ancient city of Petra that was the only way to do it. Once though the checkpoint we were met by Sheik Mohammed, our Jordanian tour guide for the day. Sheik Mohammed is a Bedouin Sheik who grew up and still somewhat maintains the Bedouin lifestyle. Interesting chap and very knowledgeable about his country.
More than two thousand years ago, Petra was built as the capital city of the Nabataeans in the heart of the Shara Mountains. We traveled through those mountains today to see the city. Truly a barren land. Petra prospered in the first centuries and was on a trade route connecting Mesopotamia and Egypt. After an earthquake in 363 AD and changes in the trade route Petra was soon abandoned.
Petra was also known as the rose-red city, a name that it got from the color of the rock in that area. It was in this rock that the people of Petra carved intricate dwellings, business and their seat of government. Today many of those carved structures still remain. From the “treasury” to the “temple” to the 4,000 seat amphitheater, Petra is an amazing site to behold.
Prophetic passages in the Bible lead some to believe that Petra will be the place that the Jewish remnant will flee to during the time of tribulation. During the tribulation two thirds of the Jews will be killed by Antichrist and his forces. Passages such as Micah 2:12, Isaiah 63:1-6 and Matthew 25:15-16 among others supports Petra-like city. Daniel 11:41 says the the areas of Ammon, Edom and Moab will be the only areas that the Antichrist will not be able to overcome. Petra lies within that area.
There is only one way to enter the town of Petra and that is through a narrow canyon about a mile long know as the “Siq.” While there is only one way there are two means of doing so. One is walking and the sites are amazing along the path. The other is by a horse drawn, two seater carriage. If you can take the walk it is truly beautiful and can be done in about 45 minutes. If you want a different view and a quicker way take the horse drawn buggy. Both experiences are totally different and worth the trip.
Back after darkness fell the day was long, eventful and always a learning adventure. Always exciting to see the Bible come alive before your eyes. Even more alive is one who has trusted Jesus as Saviour. Ephesians 2 speak of one who was “quickened” or made alive, no longer dead in trespasses and sin. Have you given yourself to him?
The land of YHWH. Thankful to be here. Thankful for you.
Gary W. Hall, Pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.